WEST HAM UNITED - EVERTON
Everton played very poorly last week and were incredible fortunate to beat Fulham at Goodison Park with a very late winner. The visitors had much the better chances and squandered 16 attempts on goal. Actually, despite on the surface looking tight defensively in recent starts, they have been conceding a frightening number of chances to their opponents, including 18 to goal shy Bolton, 20 at home to Manchester United and 25 at Arsenal. These are big numbers for a "top 6" team and a very worrying trend. Yakubu and Pienaar face late tests and Fellani, scorer of three of their last five goals is suspended.
United ended a sequence of four defeats with a 1-1 draw at Middlesbrough, where they dominated for much of the game and led for over an hour. They played with a lot of self belief last week and should get plenty of the ball and chances against an Everton team which is not firing at present, with too many key players struggling for form. Home win and I think that we will see goals.
5.5 points West Ham -1/4 ball 2.22 asian line.CHAMPIONSHIP
BARNSLEY - SHEFFIELD UNITED
Yet another South Yorkshire derby, we seem to get one a week in the Championship and I am firmly with the visitors to record the win that will keep them in touch with the leaders. United have discovered a defensive mean streak and have only conceded one goal in their last 664 minutes of football, which cost them defeat in the Sheffield derby, their only loss in eight starts and even that was a match they should have got something from. They have no injury concerns and James Beattie, who is far too good for the Championship, will be looking to add to the two goals he notched last week. If he stays fit and United manage to fend off any moves for him in the transfer window, I still expect them to go very close in the title race. Hosts have found some form recently, but all of those results have come against under performing teams and they will sorely miss suspended defender Stephen Foster, who has been a key man in their improvement.
6.5 points Sheffield United -1/4 ball 2.10 asian line.GERMANY BUNDESLIGA
KARLSRUHE SC- BAYER LEVERKUSEN
Very different seasons for these two clubs. Neither has yet to register a draw and the hosts have won just three times, losing their last five, conceding 11 goals and have three key players very doubtful for today. Leverkusen are playing with a lot of confidence at present, in a mirror image of Karlsruhe, they have lost just three times, winning their last four without conceding a single goal, all coming by an identical 2-0 scoreline, with 7 of the 8 goals coming after the 57th minute, which is interesting for anyone betting in running. Bayer have played with a lot of freedom on the road this season, scoring at least two goals in each start and winning four times, they will go top with a win and are very motivated and "up" for the game, looking to put pressure on leaders Hoffenheim who play tomorrow.
5 points Leverkusen -3/4 ball 2.09 asian line.